Musings & Threads. Happiness for Sale.
Happiness for Sale
The scene: I’m at my desk in my home office. Daylight is waning, my favorite candle is burning, and many of my most cherished things are carefully arranged around me - including my three sons. I’ve just called them to me, and they must sense that I have something important to say so they’ve positioned themselves at my feet, sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor. (We used to call that “Indian style” when I was young, but apparently that isn’t a thing anymore. Mea culpa. But I digress…)
I had assembled the boys to talk about the power of our positive thoughts and visualizations, the Law of Attraction, and things of that nature. I’d recently experienced a string of serendipitous & exciting circumstances that left me flying pretty high and I felt the need to have a “Dream Big - like really, really big!” talk with the boys. (This speech is not new to them, by the way; my oldest, at thirteen, is now able to chime in with his own experiences in harnessing the power of his thoughts to direct things in his own life. It’s like pure gold, hearing those stories! Except way better.) As the conversation evolved, we talked about truly living the life we want, having, doing and being the things we really want, and with no thoughts as to limits. At some point our middle son, an eleven year old harboring a very old soul, spoke up and said, “But money can’t buy happiness.”
“No, it can’t, Sawyer.” I reply. “Money can’t buy you peace of mind or purpose or integrity or meaningful relationships. But, it can give you options. And options can open up a world of opportunities for you to explore.”
Then it happened. Without missing a beat, our youngest, a nine year old with an intellect and sensitivity that startle me daily, said, “But mom, what if money really could buy happiness? What if you had to buy your feelings for every day? And if you wanted to be happy you’d have to pay for it, and it would be the most expensive.”
Nothing. Nothing comes out of my mouth. I sit agape and the room falls silent. His brothers are digesting it, too, I can tell. Then he continues, “That would mean you’d have to work hard to earn it - to make yourself happy. And you could make others happy too, if you worked at it.”
He concludes, “But I guess that’s how it already is, but instead of money it just costs us time, right?”
Outwardly, I said, “That’s absolutely right, buddy.”
Inwardly, I thought, “Wow. What the hell just happened here?!”
Days later I still find myself pondering this conversation. He’s right, you know. The decision we make to be true to ourselves, to seek genuine happiness, and to try and help others, really does come at a price. The best things always do. And it will cost us our most precious commodity - our time. It takes time to consider the needs of others, of course. But perhaps we should work hard at spending time alone, very quietly, and pondering the desires of our own hearts.
How’s that for solid investment advice?